was the Altera DE1 FPGA that was programmed to act as
a Color Computer 3 emulator. The Altera DE1 is a “blank”
Field Programmable Gate Array (hence, FPGA). The
programmer can build a system that will allow the DE1 to
mimic a computing device. Once the FPGA is
programmed, it behaves as the computer it was
programmed to be.
In this case, the programmer put together software for
the Altera DE3 that emulates a Color Computer. Its
compatibility — although not 100% — is impressive as it
runs most software available for the Color Computer 3.
The person behind this project is Gary Becker, and he has
a Yahoo! Group dedicated to the FPGA CoCo 3 at
Here‘s an introductory overview of the Altera DE1:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPXMk TJxD_s. This next link
presents a short demo of the Altera DE1 Color Computer:
LogiCall 7.0 is a software application that has a history
of almost 20 years, and was mainly written by Bob Swoger
with crucial and extensive collaboration by John Mark
Mobley and Chris Hawks (of HAWKSoft). LogiCall runs on
all versions of the CoCo, plus some other computer
systems (such as the Sinclair 2068), and provides the user
with a basic shell that allows him or her to navigate the
file system structure of the attached drives using a menu
Additionally, LogiCall can also accept commands from
the user to perform some file operations such as copy,
rename, delete, and move, and some administrative
operations such as backup and diskette format.
The objective of this software is to make using the
Color Computer more visual and intuitive. This is
accomplished through the menu structure and its
innovative use of one-keystroke commands.
The app’s source code is provided so that individuals
can customize the software to their unique needs. As an
added bonus to registered attendees, LogiCall provided a
16 GB USB Flash drive so that everyone could try it out.
History of the
Both Boisy Pitre and Bill Loguidice were at the
CoCoFEST! to promote their new book, CoCo: The
Colorful History of Tandy's Underdog Computer, published
in December 2013 by CRC Press. This book presents the
reader with a detailed history of the CoCo from its
conception to its production.
The authors had a round-table discussion that went
overtime. Attendees were interested in hearing the stories
behind the book and behind the Color Computer. The
discussion closed with a question and answer session.
Both authors were eager to share experiences and answer
the public’s questions.
Their book is available through Amazon and can be
located easily by searching its title.
More CoCo Stuff
Another interesting display was by John Linville. He
had a fully functional LED array display system connected
to a Color Computer. This project was built following
instructions from an article that appeared in an issue of
Nuts & Volts dating back to 2000.
A central and strategic fundraising event was the
annual CoCoFEST! auction where all sorts of CoCo and
some non-CoCo stuff was auctioned off. This event is the
highlight of the first day of the event (not counting the
festivities that go on after the show). Alas, I had to leave as
the auction was getting started, so I can’t report a play-by-play of that event.
All in all, everyone had a great time, celebrating
friendship and a small underdog computer of the ’80s that
left a spirit of community and collaboration which is still
going strong today. NV
58 March 2015
The authors share anecdotes and answer questions.
John Linville’s LED array using a CoCo.